Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS)

Malaysia, as a major producer and exporter of tropical timber products, has made tremendous efforts to ensure that it is able to supply timber products that are sourced from sustainably managed forests. For this purpose, the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) was set up in October 1998 as an independent organisation to develop and operate the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS). The MTCS is a voluntary scheme that provides independent assessment for forest management and chain of custody certification to ensure the sustainable management of Malaysia’s Permanent Reserved Forests (PRF).

The MTCS started operating in 2001 and is a leading timber certification scheme in the Southeast Asian region. Besides fulfilling the growing demand for certified timber products, the MTCS was also based on the need to ensure Malaysia’s rich forest resources are sustainably managed to protect the interests and well-being of its people and the nation in the long term. The MTCS achieved a significant milestone in 2009 by becoming the first tropical timber certification scheme in the region to be endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) – an accreditation body of the largest forest area in the world.

Under the MTCS, the standard used for forest management certification of natural forest is the Malaysian Criteria and Indicators for Forest Management Certification (Natural Forest) [MC&I (Natural Forest)] while that for assessing forest plantation is the MC&I (Forest Plantations). The development of the certification standards under the MTCS involved broad-based national consultations amongst social, environmental and economic stakeholder groups, and relevant government agencies. MTCC has always strived to ensure that the standard development/review process under the MTCS is transparent, participatory, balanced, inclusive and objective. The consultations provide a forum for all stakeholder groups to contribute inputs with regard to the requirements of the certification standards, taking into account the three pillars of sustainability covering social, environmental and economic aspects.

As a PEFC-endorsed scheme, the PEFC certificates for forest management and chain of custody under the MTCS are issued by independent PEFC-notified certification bodies (CBs) which have obtained accreditation from Standards Malaysia, the national accreditation body. The award of these certificates is based on the results of the audits carried out on the applicants by the CBs.

The Certificate for Forest Management is awarded to the Forest Management Unit (FMU) that has complied with the requirements of the forest management standard. The Certificate for Chain of Custody is for the timber product manufacturer or exporter who has complied with the requirements of the PEFC international standard for chain of custody. The MTCS provides an assurance to buyers that PEFC-certified timber products originate from sustainably managed FMUs.

As of October 2016, eight FMUs, accounting for 3.955 million ha or 27% of the total PRF in Malaysia have been PEFC-certified under the MTCS. The timber originating from these FMUs is the source of PEFC-certified material for more than 356 timber companies in Malaysia that have obtained the MTCS chain of custody certification. The range of PEFC-certified timber products exported includes sawntimber, plywood, mouldings, veneer, laminated finger-jointed timber, finger-jointed dressed timber, furniture components, door and window components, picture frames, parquet flooring and paper and packaging.

As a PEFC-endorsed scheme, the MTCS has been accepted under the national timber procurement policies of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland and UK, and recognised by green building systems in Abu Dhabi, Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Singapore, the Netherlands, UK, USA, and UAE, as well as by the Green Building Index (GBI) in Malaysia.